Thursday, June 03, 2010

Holy Reason, Happy Human

I have mentioned that our LHC book club recently read Anselm’s Cur Deus Homo. After reading the book a second time (and being thoroughly impressed a second time), I read up on Anselm and the book, and discovered it was quite the theological and philosophical revolution at the time. One of the passages that stuck out to me was the first chapter of the second book titled, “How man was made holy by God, so as to be happy in the enjoyment of God.” The first few sentences are provocative.

It ought not to be disputed that rational nature was made holy by God, in order to be happy in enjoying Him. For to this end is it rational, in order to discern justice and injustice, good and evil, and between the greater and the lesser good. Otherwise it was made rational in vain. But God made it not rational in vain. Wherefore, doubtless, it was made rational for this end. In like manner is it proved that the intelligent creature received the power of discernment for this purpose, that he might hate and shun evil, and love and choose good, and especially the greater good. For else in vain would God have given him that power of discernment, since man’s discretion would be useless unless he loved and avoided according to it. But it does not befit God to give such power in vain. It is, therefore, established that rational nature was created for this end, viz., to love and choose the highest good supremely, for its own sake and nothing else;…

What strikes me is the capacity that is made holy by God in order for us to be happy in him: our rationality. We were given this capacity for a purpose. It is intended to judge rightly between right and wrong, good and evil, and even make distinctions between lesser and greater goods. The exercise of my mental capacities is an act of sanctification, or redemption, of holiness to the end that I may be happy in God.

Put the other way around, I am happiest in God when this capacity is used to its utmost. The highest use my reason can attain is to supremely love the supreme good – God. And I learn to love him for his own sake and not for what he does or does not do.

Do I love God with all my mind?

1 comment:

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